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US ‘superglue’ the best way to boost car parts recovery?

United States – Researchers at Michigan State University are working together with the American Chemistry Council’s automotive group as well as chemical and advanced materials company Solvay to develop a special type of ‘superglue’ that could bring end-of-life car disassembly to a whole new level.

Mixing materials is nothing new when talking about consumer products manufacturing. And yet, finding the right adhesive so they stick one another is an entirely different thing. It’s an issue that car manufacturers are all but too familiar with, and one that hinders the efficient recycling of modern-day vehicles.

The new compound is an enhanced thermoplastic with microscopic magnetic particles that bond different kinds of plastic, metals and a combination of both without the need for more rivets or connectors. The ‘superglue’ adapts to different surface properties and works at different material temperatures adhesive. These characteristics would ultimately enable composite materials to be cleanly separated once the car is sent back for scrapping.

The research is in the ‘laboratory testing phase’ but the outlook for upscaling is very promising, according to Sandra McClelland, a member of the council and sales development manager for Solvay Specialty Polymers. She adds that the new materials bonding approach would also allow a component to be repaired in a way that will make it stronger.

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